Dr. James Compton Burnett lists his fifth reason for becoming a homeopath:
" I leave you to study the wider therapeutic bearings of Aconite in common feverishness and as a preventive of inflammatory localizings, and also the specific elective affinity of the white Bryonia for the serous membranes, as exemplified in my own case, as well as in the other two; I did not promise you didactic lectures on the various points I bring forward, but only my Fifty Reasons.
So now for my fifth: it is this – Homeopathy lifts me at one stroke from the dependent position of a groping journeyman healer of disease to the proud position of a master of the healing art. Let me exemplify by quoting almost in full a case I once published, under this heading – ON THE USE OF CHLORAL HYDRATE IN LETHARGIC SOMNOLENCY Those who have watched old chloral-eaters may have noticed that they slowly get lethargic, somnolent, and listless. Towards the end of the chapter of chronic chloralism there is a condition of fatty degeneration of a slow, lazy type, and the very mode of death seems peculiar.
I have seen a case where the subject of chronic chloralism lay for days a-dying; she was for several days so that it was very difficult to determine whether she was dead or not. Occasionally one comes across a remarkable case of somnolence, and then the narcotics are to be thought of by the therapeutist, I will shortly relate two such cases from my own practice. No.1 A lady about forty-five years of age, stout, fresh looking and the mother of a family, was the subject of remark of her friends, on account of her lethargy and sleepiness. Her weakness was such that even crossing the street was almost impossible; the weakness was peculiarly lethargic, a kind of listless heaviness. She was almost constantly asleep; she would get up in the morning after a good night’s rest and, even while still dressing, she seemed compelled to sit down, and no sooner seated but she would fall asleep. This state of things went on for weeks and months, and her allopathic adviser did his best in vain.
After she came under my care I tried first Arnica and then Opium, with but indifferent success, when all at once I bethought me of the great similarity of the case before me to that of a confirmed old chloral-eater of my clientele. Chloral in a low dilution cured my patient, and she again became brisk, active and wide awake.
No.2 An elderly lady came under my care on April 21st 1881, for lethargy, languor, and somnolence. Prescribed Chloral Hydrat. 2X, 6 grains in water every three hours. May 7th: Under this date I find these notes in my case book: “Feels a different creature; vastly improved; less lethargic, and decidedly less languid.” She then got 3X instead of the 2X and only two doses a day, and then needed no further treatment, as she subsequently informed me when calling with her husband.
Now you can see what I mean: I had before me cases that would not readily fit into any nosological cadre, and yet I was enabled to treat the case en maitre. This is therapeutic independence which I love, and affords, as I submit, a very sound reason indeed for being a homeopath. Had I not so many more reasons to give I should very much like to dilate on this transcendental advantage of Homeopathy: It's law is a guide in the darkest disease; of this more in my next.